Top 5 Things Homeowners Overlook When Selling a Home

by Tommy SibigaApril 30, 2014

Brought to you by our friend Tommy Sibiga:
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Selling your home is not as simple as throwing a picture up online and waiting for the bids to come in. The home selling and home buying process requires some thought, some work, and some sacrifice. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to get done both before the sale, during, and after. Here are the top five things that I’ve seen most sellers overlook during the home selling process.

Factor in Real Estate Agent Commissions

First and foremost is the cost associated with selling a home. Industry standard is approximately a 6% real estate commission paid by the seller. If you bought your home at $400,000, the market has gone up, you’ve done some repairs, and are told your home could sell for $425,000, some sellers may naturally think that their investment has yielded a $25,000 return. In fact, after the real estate commissions, the sellers have actually lost $500 from the time of purchase. When you’re buying a home, you’re not typically thinking about this because there is no cost directly correlated to the buyer. Commissions come out of the seller’s side.

Know What Buyers Are Willing to Pay

As we’re talking numbers, the second thing that most sellers overlook is that ultimately, only a willing buyer is the one who is able to determine the price of a home. An appraiser, a real estate professional, the lady down the street, and various internet sites with their guesstimates do not determine the price of your home; it’s determined by what someone else will pay for it.

Complete Necessary Home Maintenance Projects

There are certain large ticket items that sellers feel should make their homes sell for a specific amount, more than other homes on the market. Sometimes updates and renovations hold a high sentimental value that the market does not support, which greatly affects the home buying process. A full-size statue of your cat centered in a koi pond may not carry the monetary value that aligns with your family’s values. Regardless of how much you’ve spent or how much you perceive your home to be worth, purchase price is calculated by what others are willing to pay.

Sellers also overlook those small or quirky fixes around the house that you’ve just gotten used to. A drawer that doesn’t open, a door that doesn’t shut, lights that are burnt out, a toilet paper holder that’s fallen off, a crooked picture frame, a bare spot needing paint, etc. There are some things around the house that we tend to turn a blind eye to. Prior to your first showing, invite someone over to examine your property and see if they can identify any of those possible small fixes or things that would detract attention away for a potential buyer.

Be Prepared for Privacy Adjustments

It’s a good practice to invite someone over to your house that’s never been to it before, because the fourth thing that people overlook is the fact that complete strangers will be walking through your home. They’ll want to see your home at dinner time, nap time, on the weekend, within a moment’s notice, and days in advance. Potential buyers will look through every nook and cranny, making judgments every turn of the way. Sellers often are surprised when they can tell something’s been moved, lights were left on, dirty foot prints appear, or perhaps a door was left unlocked. An unfortunate inconvenience of selling a home is that strangers will be walking through your home and may not display the same courtesies that you’re accustomed to by your guests.
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Don’t Forget to Freshen Up Your Home

The last thing that I think most sellers overlook is the smell of a home. Maybe it’s a temporary smell or maybe it’s one that’s set up, but there’s a powerful linkage between one’s memory and one’s smell. It’s important that a home for sale leaves a positive impression. Use that same friend/acquaintance to help identify the blind spots of smells. Remove the sources of smells that you can, mask the others, and introduce universally loved smells as you can.

There are some other things to consider when putting your house on the market, but the five mentioned above are those most often overlooked. As with all blind spots, a new perspective and/or an additional set of eyes will be of huge benefit. For more tips on home buying and selling, visit the Homes.com Idea Gallery.

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Tommy Sibiga
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